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Inbox: There’s no complacency in that room

Linebackers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith
Linebackers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith

Lee from Leesburg, FL

What do you feel will be tonight’s motivation for a victory?

Take a glance in the rear-view mirror. You have a Bear, a Viking and a Lion on your tail. Because right now, the Packers have handed out the only two losses in the NFC North. Take care of business Thursday and keep them there. Good morning!

Matt from Eau Clarrie, WI

While I understand the production we've seen so far from the Smiths isn't necessarily sustainable, Preston is currently on pace for 24 sacks and Z is on pace for 16. It's hard not to be excited about what this defense has done so far this year and what it's going to do moving forward.

Preston said after the game his goal is 100 sacks this year. Needless to say, there’s no complacency in that room.

Matt from Syracuse, NY

In what rounds were the Smiths and Amos drafted, and what did the "experts" think about them at the time?

That’s kind of the beautiful thing about it. None of the three were Day 1 picks. Washington took Preston in the second round (38th overall), Baltimore drafted Za’Darius in the fourth (No. 122) and Amos didn’t come off the board until the fifth round (No. 142). Talk about self-made men.

Suzanne from Elgin, TX

Congrats to Preston Smith on NFC Defensive Player of the Week! Who was the last Packer to hold that honor?

Dean Lowry was the most recent for his performance against Tampa Bay in Week 13 of the 2017 season. One thing I didn’t realize is Za’Darius Smith actually was honored as the Week 6 recipient in the AFC last year for his three sacks against Tennessee.

Michael from Madison, WI

With the Eagles coming to town, what matchup on the field should we keep an eye on this week?

Mike Pettine vs. Zach Ertz. Philly’s offense goes as Ertz’s goes. It’s going to be crucial for the Packers to contain him whether that’s Adrian Amos, Tramon Williams, Blake Martinez, Josh Jackson or a combination of players. I’m curious to see how Pettine moves his chess pieces.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

As has often been said, it's not necessarily about who you play, but when you play them. I think the biggest difference for the Packers-Eagles game will be how good Rodgers feels after taking only one hit last game, while Wentz is probably still feeling some of the beating he took from the Lions. What do you feel will make the biggest difference in the game?

There’s so much randomness to these Thursday night games because it’s not “true” football. It’s a TV dinner. I think the fresher team prevails. The only constant is health.

Alfredo from Albuquerque, NM

I don’t view the Packers’ defense as a defense that puts a total halt to the opposition’s offense. Rather I’ve observed that the Packers make other teams play ugly football, therein creating mistakes that the Packers capitalize on. The secondary creates problems for the passing game, which gives our linebackers and “bigs” the time they need to get to the QB. These, paired with our newfound ability to contain the edge have given us our recent success on defense. Is this what you’ve observed?

The defense hasn’t been perfect but it has been proficient in forcing three-and-outs and takeaways. When the opposing offense has success, it typically has to go the long way to the end zone, and the defense doesn’t cave in with big plays. The more plays the offense runs, the more chances the defense has for turnovers.

Vernell from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

John Kuhn just gave Blake Martinez a sugar rush. Watch out Eagles!

Watch John’s “Four Downs” Q&A or read my story on the Packers’ inside linebacker. Either way, packers.com has you covered on the Martinez front.

Glen from Leesburg, VA

Gary from Stockton had a question about staying healthy being the most important part in winning a championship. If you look at 2010, the Packers were riddled with injuries. Grant, Finley, Barnett, etc., all went down for the season early. In the Super Bowl, they lost Woodson and Driver. While staying healthy is important, depth and "next man up" mentality are possibly more important. That may have been the deepest Packers team I can ever remember.

Depth, fit and chemistry. That’s how the Packers won Super Bowl XLV. It’s not just having a good backup but how that individual fits in with the unit. Look at the job Jordy Nelson, Erik Walden, Howard Green, Jarrett Bush and Charlie Peprah did during that run.

Daniel from Lakeland, FL

Regarding the question from Paul, La Porte, IN: Is there an accepted definition of "half a sack?” If so, what is it?

Have you ever shared a sandwich with a sibling? That’s it. That’s the definition.

John from Madison, AL

Knock on wood and keeping our fingers crossed, the Packers are relatively healthy this year after three games into the season. The biggest playmakers on the team are still going full-throttle, even Kevin King. Is this just a stroke of good fortune or could it be Matt LaFleur's approach to practice and training camp in August?

There always is an element of good fortune with injuries in the NFL, but I think you have to commend the Packers for having a good plan in how they handled the workload of Bryan Bulaga and King this offseason. I know King missed a couple weeks with the hamstring but the goal was to get him to Week 1. Mission accomplished.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers win if Aaron Rodgers throws for 300 yards.

The Eagles have the 29th-ranked pass defense right now and are banged up in the secondary. Philly is tough to run against with how its defensive front penetrates but there should be opportunities for the pass game to get going.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

I think A-Rod is correct – the offense needs to do its part as opposing offenses start to find ways to better plan and execute against our defense. Who needs to be the player who steps up on O against Philly?

It’s not one player. As Jordy Nelson used to say, it’s about doing positive things in practice and carrying that momentum into games. That’s how teams come together. The offense has playmakers. Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Robert Tonyan and Danny Vitale all made a big play through the first three games. The Packers just need to string them together with more consistency.

Lisa from Kronenwetter, WI

Insiders, what has been your favorite opposing team stadium to watch a game at? I’m thinking about getting tickets for the Dec. 23 game versus the Vikings (significant other wants to see what U.S. Bank Stadium looks like). We’re waiting to see how the next few weeks of the season shake out before buying tickets.

The Georgia Dome. It was the last of a dying breed with a press box at midfield and not hovering among the clouds.

Al from Green Bay, WI

There has been lots of ink regarding Adams needing more targets this week. It's come from the coach, Rodgers, and even Adams. Is there a downside to them all calling their shot?

I don’t think there’s a downside but I also don’t think it’s breaking news. Rodgers said from the first media availability of the 2019 offseason program that he has no problem targeting Adams another 170 times. Adams had his breakout performance against Philly in 2016. Don’t be surprised if he has another big game Thursday night.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Wes, you starting Big Bob Tonyan this week? Just wondering if they have any TD plays for him on the call sheet.

Tonyan doesn’t need four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown to be successful. He needs that 28-yarder when the offense needs it like it did against Chicago or what would have been a 43-yard touchdown against Denver. Keep making plays and keep growing.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Regarding the short week, do you think playing on Thursday is more trouble than the following mini-bye is worth? Does it take too much a toll on players and coaches? Or does the extra time to rest and recuperate make up for it?

Probably not, but it is the only silver lining to an otherwise wretched week. And every team has to go through it at some point. Fortunately for the Packers, they were able to stay home for both games.

Mark from Columbia, SC

Comment. The Packers vs. the Eagles will be the FIRST NFL game broadcast in 4K HDR on DIRECTV! I am really excited to see this epic game on an epic broadcast!

Response. I’m very happy for you.

Joe from Fond du Lac, WI

It's pretty exciting watching this defense each week. The initial thought was Oren Burks would be out the first four weeks of the season. Is he on track to return Week 5 vs. Dallas? What can we expect to see with him back in the lineup that we haven't seen so far?

That’s still to be determined. Burks didn’t practice this week. Once he is cleared for contact, he’s going to need to work in practice before we start talking about when you’ll see him back on the field.

Doug from Ames, IA

If a player on the practice squad is signed by another team and then released after a few games, can he go back to the original practice team?

Yes. Also, that player is guaranteed three weeks’ salary. So if he’s cut after one game, he still collects two more game checks.

Matt from Omaha, NE

On Denver’s second touchdown, am I the only one who was thinking delay of game? Maybe it was just the broadcast clock v. game clock, but to me, I thought I saw zeros. I am glad it ended up being inconsequential, but was curious if I was the only one who noticed.

Yeah, that’s a tough one. Looked like a bang-bang call to me. The refs obviously gave the tie to the offense.

Michanda from Brunswick, GA

So I know the Packers are focusing on the Eagles at this point and that's the game us fans should be looking at, but a lot of people are picking the Packers to lose their first game to the Cowboys. But I feel confident that they can win all the way up till the Chiefs. What do you think?

A team on a streak has to respect the streak – and not look ahead. Everything has to be about the Eagles until it’s finally about the Cowboys.

James from Santa Maria, CA

Good morning II, I'm traveling to Dallas to see my Packers and would love to know time and place of the Packers Everywhere event and if there will be any alumni there?

Doors open at The Rustic at 10 a.m. local time with the pep rally set for a 6 p.m. start on Saturday, Oct. 5. Bubba Franks and Donny Anderson are the alumni for the event.

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

Wes believes every team looks different in November and December than it does in September. If that's the case, what are the Dolphins going to look like then? They already look like a shell of a team after shipping out top talent and putting out one of the least productive teams in history so far. I know a lottery was brought up, but can the NFL and NFLPA push for loss of first-round draft picks for tanking? Ross is putting players out there with no intentions of winning games this year.

I don’t expect either to step in, especially after what happened in Cleveland during the Sashi Brown era. This sure is something else, though. Miami not only shipped out its established veterans but also its young stars on rookie contracts. The Dolphins and their fans are in for a long year.

Meagan from Wausau, WI

With the Packers playing their Week 4 game tomorrow night, who will be the 3-0 team to watch on Sunday?

The Cowboys. Although Drew Brees won’t play, I still think the Saints are a great litmus test for how good Dallas really is.

Konrad from Panama City, FL

Insiders, I read a lot of stories on the Packers, Vikings and Bears. What are your thoughts on the Lions sitting quietly undefeated and building confidence?

Hey, kudos to Matt Patricia and his team for bouncing back with back-to-back wins over the Chargers and Eagles after what could have been a demoralizing tie with Arizona. The Lions’ biggest challenge comes Sunday against Kansas City.

JR from East Moline, IL

Wes, as your boss (you work for the Packers, I'm a Packers shareholder, ipso facto, I'm your boss) I'd like to know your favorite Halloween time book(s).

As a kid, it was “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and “In a Dark, Dark Room.” Alvin Schwartz was a genius. I’m also a massive Edgar Allen Poe fan. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every tale he wrote. “The Pit and Pendulum,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are my favorites.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, how does the short turnaround week affect the packers.com team?

I snuck an extra 3-mile run in before the 7:30 p.m. media availability Monday and have a massage scheduled for 1 p.m. to get my body right for tonight’s game.

Drew from Dubuque, IA

Weston, I don't care how many cabs I get thrown out of, I'm with The Dude.

Far out.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

First “all-nighter” coming up. Could use a good excuse if I’m not up to speed at work this Friday. Know any good ones?

Call in and say: “There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?” Enjoy the game, everybody.

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